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Average critic rating : 95.0 points
The 2013 Chardonnay Monte Bello is exceptional. Rich, layered and creamy, the 2013 exudes depth. Readers will have to wait at least a few years before the 2013 hits its stride, but all the elements are in the right place. Yellow orchard fruit, mint, sweet spices and flowers are all fused together in an exceptional, racy Chardonnay loaded with class and personality. Today, the 2013 is a total knock-out. The 2,000 case production for the Monte Bello Chardonnay is a record high for Ridge. Jul 2016, www.vinous.com, Drink: 2018-2028
A true gem, the 2013 Chardonnay Monte Bello, which was barrel fermented and aged 17 months in mostly American oak, offers sensational notes of white peach, citrus blossom, mint, ginger and baking spices. It’s a big, rich wine, yet it never puts a foot wrong, is impeccably balanced and stays fresh, pure and focused. Drink it anytime over the coming decade or more. Oct 2016, www.robertparker.com, Drink: 2016-2026
Described by Antonio Galloni as“one of the most consistent and brilliant wineries in the United States, Ridge is an estate which requires little introduction. Producing its first vintage under the “Monte Bello” label in 1892 (naming itself after the Monte Bello Ridge on which its first terraces were constructed), it is today one of the finest producers of Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel in California.
Though the estate has been creating world-class Cabernet from the 1940’s, its first Zinfandel was not made until 1964, and its first Geyserville Zinfandel released in 1966. By 1968, production had increased to just under three thousand cases per year and the estate only increased in renown from there. Following their triumph in the 1976 Judgement of Paris tasting, their position as a cult name in California wine was more or less cemented.
In the eyes of many critics, Ridge craft wines that rival Bordeaux First Growth in terms of quality and finesse. As Galloni states: “ Bordeaux-like classification existed for US wineries, Ridge would be at the top of the list”. Employing traditional Old World methods in the winery, the results are typically mellow, smooth and balanced, with the use of new American oak barrels finely calibrated so as not to overwhelm the wine with New World power and sweetness.
Described by Robert Parker as a candidate for one of the longest-lived Cabernet Sauvignon-based wines in California, Ridge’s Monte Bello represents the pinnacle of what is being achieved at this extraordinary estate, whilst the Monte Bello Chardonnay is arguably California’s most respected white wine. Made from 100% hard-harvested, estate grown grapes and with a policy of minimal intervention, these wines are superbly representative of the stunning heights this iconic estate can achieve.
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